Empowering women has become an important factor to gauge the development of a country or a community i.e. a community that offers equal opportunities to women as men and assists women in order to avail this equality is a developing and civil community. In my career, I have worked in different locations and different people and witnessed how women worked under different circumstances with respect to acknowledging their rights. In this article, I want to share with you what I have learned from working women.
First things first, I would like to lay down some logical (yet necessary) facts that would, hopefully, fine-tune the readers mind-set before reading the following lines of this article. First; the word “women” does not mean one thing or one identity or one style. When I say “what I learned from women” I mean women including all their differences that I have met throughout my career. Second; empowering women does not (always) mean to praise women or their work. Sometimes constructive criticism is the best way to prove equality … that women are treated in the same manner as men and that women should not be taken any less seriously than men. Third; it is a matter of fact that women are different from men. This fact should not be confused with equality as the former relates to nature and the latter relates to rights. Fourth and last; as there are bad men (like criminals for example), there are also bad women – saying that shouldn’t be taken as degrading women.
There could be very challenging industries for women to work in, however, in my opinion, construction is one of the most challenging industries for women. As construction is one of the fields I have worked in, I would like to share two amazing qualities I have learned from women working in this field.
Women are generally more patient than men. Particularly their approach to problem solving … it is definitely about problem solving rather than problem “facing”. Women genuinely long for the solution in a problem rather than the fight or the path of the problem solving journey itself. Where I come from (Egypt), there’s a very famous joke about kids telling their mothers that they can’t find something at home that the mother would say “and if I can come and find it for you now?”. This famous joke encapsulates the quality I am talking about here; patience which actually leads to seeing alternative routes for solving a problem … disconnecting any personal or unnecessary attachments from the problem and dealing with it as just a problem which eventually leads to solving it. In business, that means a lot … disconnecting any unnecessary attachment from a problem leaves you only with its root which gives you the sufficient clarity to work on resolving it. In many cases, I have seen deals being cancelled and uncompleted due to trivial reasons … women usually evolve and succeed in these situations and miraculously find a way out that satisfies everyone.
Finesse in the context I mean in this article is the ability to find new solutions to old or inherent problems. I can write a lot about that quality in women but the best example iconizing it was the fabulous Nadine Labaki’s state of the art movie “Where do we go now?” which tells an amazing story of how the women of a remote Lebanese village managed to overcome sectarian strife that hit their village. Apart from the comedy, the women in the movie actually come from different religions and backgrounds but they were easily able to set those differences aside and join their forces to stop violence and keep their community united. I have seen women using this quality in brilliant ways to prove they can do the same and even better job than men in some cases. Finesse drives creativity and innovation … when women are given the opportunity, they can find outstanding solutions to inherent problems just due to this quality … not due to individual experience or anything of the sort … just because they are women.
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